Above you stretches out the starry sky, around you wraps nothing but nature, and before you a sits a crackling fire. Anyone who has lit a fire after a long day touring in the wilderness knows what I’m talking about. Instantly, there is a feeling of complete satisfaction and warmth. You have arrived.
We have put together the following 5 most essential hot tips for you to get your campfire going in a safe and quick way.
Find out everything you need to know about picking the right place, the best fire material and how to set up your fire so that it will get going quick and last for a long time.
1. Find a suitable place for the campfire
That sounds easier than it is sometimes. Find out if the campsite or forest region permits any fires in the area before you go on your outdoor adventure. Also, remember to check the local forest fire warnings. Here are the four essential considerations for picking a site:
The ideal fire site should consist of non-combustible material.
The preferred surface would be a gravel bank by the river or a sandy beach.
Make sure the site is not too exposed to wind to avoid having sparks fly around.
Have a creek, stream, lake or river nearby, or a bucket of water for safety.
You might want to consider digging a little into the soil to make sure the ground is not flammable, this shovel might save you some time.
The quickest way to find a site for your fire is; however, is by using a foldable fire pit. The advantage of using a fire pit is that you can “move” your fire in case you need to relocate. You will also avoid leaving any fire, bbq or coal remains at the fire site. I would also highly recommend using heat resistant gloves for any activity at or around the campfire.
2. The right material for an outdoor campfire
Preparation is everything! Before the fire is lit, everyone needs to go out into the forest together to collect some dry wood.
Further, you will need (as dry as possible):
- A few stones to place in a circle around the campfire.
- Tinder, small & medium sized pieces of wood, as well as grass, bark or moss.
- If nothing dry is handy, use toilet paper, newspaper or some paper packaging.
- Medium sized branches or small bits of wood.
- Large pieces of wood.
3. Build the campfire
Once you have made your ring of stones, build the lowest layer of dry (wrinkled) paper or moss.
On top of that layer comes everything that you have collected as “tinder,” so the dry leaves, grass, etc. Stack all of these materials in one heap.
Now take the medium sized branches and place them in a pyramid shape on top of your tinder heap. Inside, you start with the thinnest branches and then layer the thicker ones around that.
Make sure you leave enough space for airflow and oxygen to get through. As you are building your pyramid, make sure to leave a little hole at the very centre of your construction.
4. Start your campfire!
Now you just need a fire source. Here are some options:
Simple and very affordable, definitely more elegant in case you care about that. But if the wind picks up or if your bag or backpack gets wet, well then there is no fire for you with this option.
Not as elegant, but storm lighters are very quick and efficient. Having a great storm lighter is also useful in case the wind picks up. If you use a lighter as your main fire source, make sure you have a backup, which can be either another lighter or some of the following:
The alternative to matches or a lighter is fire steel (image above). Whether it’s wet or dry, it always works. The spark gets hotter than 3000 degrees! This kind of Firestarter is inexpensive and can be used for many camping trips for years to come.
The good old glass trick, it’s just being mentioned for the sake of completeness. Place some dry and wrinkled paper on your non-combustible spot, and point your burning glass with the burning point at it. Now, wait for approximately 1 to 10 minutes (depending on the sun’s intensity). Oh, and you would need the sun as well. Overall this method takes too long and is too reliant on environmental factors, which is not great if you want to start your fire quickly and in any weather conditions.
5. Make sure your food is “fireproof” and bring enough of it!
The best campfire in the outdoors isn’t worth much if you don’t have anything to put on it. Well, aside from the romance factor, I would really recommend you think about what you can put on a fire. Not everything that we consume in our daily lives is also good to go on a campfire. If you plan to go the BBQ route you might want to consider this Tripod Grilling Set. Here are some general food recommendations:
- Sausages of every kind (the ones with cheese inside are the best)
- Meat, like steak
- Potatoes (wrapped in aluminium foil)
- Bread or buns
- Salt, Pepper, Ketchup, Salads, etc.
- Soda, Beer, Water, etc.
If you are in a hurry…
If you are on a tight budget or in a hurry just grab some sausages at the store and put them on a stick over the fire. (You can grab some salt ‘n’ pepper for free at any gas station.
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Your outback gear and review team.